2021 Summit Agenda

Download The 2021 Agenda

Networking Available All Day

  • 8:00am – 6:00pm EST: Wednesday, September 22nd 

As the main agenda progresses throughout the day, you will have the choice of listening in to / participating in the live content or spend more of your time networking with your peers.

Here is how you will be able to achieve this, outside of the networking sessions on the agenda

  • See who’s in the room – you will be able to message all live attendees and connect with those who respond.
  • Schedule 1-2-1 video calls with your connections at any time that suits you.
  • Open Networking – think of this as the event lobby where you can replicate those all-important “water-cooler” moments.

You will be able to hop seamlessly between networking and on-going agenda sessions at any point.

With networking available all day, this will provide you with even more opportunities to meet your potential future partners and collaborators.

Main Agenda

  • Wednesday, September 22nd
Wednesday, September 22nd
8:00am EST

Conference Platform Opens

The conference platform opens before the agenda starts, giving you time to plug the presentations, panels and discussions into your agenda for the rest of the day. This also gives you plenty of time to get familiar with the platform.

9:00am EST

Chair’s Opening Remarks and Keynote Presentation: Harnessing NK Cells against cancer through IL-15 Pathway Activation

  • Design and preclinical characterization of NKTR-255, a novel IL-15 pathway agonist
  • Therapeutic efficacy in preclinical models of liquid and solid tumors
  • Phase I dose-escalation study data: pharmacodynamics and safety

Willem Overwijk, VP, Oncology Research, Nektar Therapeutics

9:35am EST

Wellness Break

9:35am EST

Presentation: Notable Advancements for Next-Gen Cytokine Therapeutics – The Story so Far 

Dr. Jon Wigginton, Chief Medical Officer, Cullinan Oncology

10:05am EST

Wellness Break

Deep-Dive into the Main Challenges of Cytokine Therapeutic Development

10:10am EST

Panel Discussion: What Key Challenges do we Need to Overcome to Unlock the Full Potential of Cytokine Therapeutics?

Over the past 20 years there has been considerable advancements in using Cytokines as Therapeutics. Shared knowledge across the field has enabled progression to be made with a deeper insight. However gaps in scientific understanding of the intricacies of cytokine pathways may pose as a limit to further advancements being made.

  • Will the particular engineering strategy affect how it is delivered, dosage and therapeutic half-life?
  • How can we enhance localization and does the answer lie with antibodies or interaction with the microenvironment?
  • What is the best-practice approach for utilizing IL-2, IL-12 & IL-15?
  • What are the gaps in our current scientific understanding that we need to address in order to move forward?

Dr. Carl Walkey, Senior Vice President Corporate Development, Neoleukin Therapeutics

Dr. Carlos Mayo, MD Executive Director R&DAlkermes

Dr. Ma’an Muhsin, Chief Medical Officer, Medicenna

Dr. John Mumm, Co-Founder & CEO, Deka BioSciences

Moderator: Willem Overwijk, VP, Oncology Research, Nektar Therapeutics


10:50am EST

Wellness Break

10:55am EST

Presentation: Next-Generation Antibody-Cytokine Fusions for Cancer Therapy

  • Antibody-Cytokine fusions with selective localization at the tumor site
  • Dual cytokine fusion proteins
  • Products with activity on demand

Dr. Dario Neri, Chief Executive Officer, Philogen

11:20am EST

Wellness Break

11:25am EST

Presentation: Intratumoral administration and retention of IL-2 and IL-12 bifunctional fusion proteins to drive a systemic immune response

  • Intratumoral administration of cytokines without a retention strategy can trigger significant toxicity
  • CLN-617 is a fusion protein that combines IL-2, IL-12, a collagen binder, and a spacer element to maximize bioavailability in the tumor and minimize systemic exposure
  • Murine surrogates of CLN-617 drive robust systemic anti-tumor immunity without toxicity in checkpoint-resistant syngeneic tumor models

Dr. Naveen Mehta, Director of Preclinical Research & Development, Cullinan Oncology

11:45am EST

Wellness Break

11:50am EST

Panel Discussion: What can We Learn from Preclinical Research and Clinical Trials that Will Uncover the Most Favourable Therapeutic Cytokines? 

What can we learn from pre-clinical research in order to sustain the efficacy of these Next-Gen Cytokine Therapeutics all the way through to meet patient needs?

  • How can we combat the short half-life of cytokine therapies for increased success?
  • Which approaches best work to target/conditionally activate cytokines in the body?
  • What can we gather from research into the different protein engineering technologies, that informs the development of immunotherapies?
  • Which strategies have been most successful in dealing with toxicities for patients?
  • What can the drug discovery and development stage do to ensure success in clinical trials?

Prof. Michael Dougan, Assistant Professor, Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts General Hospital

Dr. Dafne Müller, Lecturer Institute of Cell Biology and Immunology, University of Stuttgart

Prof. Jamie Spangler, Assistant Professor, The Spangler Lab Johns Hopkins University


12:30pm EST


The Next-Gen Cytokine Therapeutics Summit includes an extended break in the middle to give you ample time for lunch and another chance to catch up on the day job. Or if you have time, you can use this break for 1-2-1 meetings or open networking.

Deep-Dive Case Study Presentations

1:20pm EST

Presentation: SmartKine®: A Break-Through Cytokine Prodrug Technology Platform 

  • Cytokine prodrugs derived from the SmartKine® platform were able to avoid “cytokine sink” and had extended antibody-like half lives in cyno
  • SmartKine® matches the potency of its cytokine prodrug to the carrier antibody so that the antibody is not just a carrier.  The antibody-cytokine prodrug fusion molecules are truly bifunctional
  • SmartKine® cytokine prodrug is able to selectively activate pro-inflammatory immune cells or immune-suppressive immune cells.  The platform can be applied to develop cytokine therapeutics for both oncology and inflammation indications.

Dr. Yuefeng Lu, Chief Scientific Officer, AskGene Pharma

1:45pm EST

Wellness Break

1:50pm EST

Presentation: Alkermes Clinical presentation of IL2/Nemvaleukin.

Dr. Carlos Mayo, MD Executive Director R&D, Alkermes

2:15pm EST

Wellness Break

2:20pm EST

Presentation: Immunocytokines as a Means to Optimize Immunotherapy in Prostate Cancer 

Dr. Ravi Madan, Clinical Director Genitourinary Malignancy, National Cancer Institute 

2:45pm EST

Wellness Break

2:50pm EST

Presentation: Evolutionary IL-2 Superkines: Past, Present and Future

Dr. Fahar Merchant, Chief Executive Officer, Medicenna

3:15pm EST

Wellness Break

3:20pm EST

Presentation: Tumor selective cytokines for cancer therapy.

  • Xilio’s proprietary technology allows us to create novel immunotherapies that preferentially bind their targets in tumors while minimizing activity in healthy non-tumor tissues. 
  • We engineer an optimized and highly potent cytokine which is then inactivated by fusing it to a masking domain. 
  • The masking domain is released upon cleavage by proteases that are preferentially active in the tumor microenvironment. Resulting in tumor-selective activity of the cytokine and overcoming dose limiting toxicity and maximizing anti-tumor efficacy

Dr. Natalia V. Malkova, Director, In Vivo Pharmacology, Xilio Therapeutics

3:45pm EST

Wellness Break

3:50pm EST

Presentation: Safety, pharmacodynamics and efficacy of escalating doses of the IL15 superagonist SO-C101 as monotherapy and in combination with pembrolizumab in patients with advanced/metastatic solid tumors 

  • SO-C101 demonstrates a favourable safety profile
  • Strong stimulation of pharmacodynamic markers
  • Preliminary efficacy signals have been observed both in mono- as well as combination therapy

Dr. Richard Sachse, Chief Medical Officer, Sotio

4:15pm EST

Wellness Break

4:20pm EST

Presentation: Pioneering the Development of Therapeutics Engineered to Overcome Key Challenges and Unlock the Full Potential of Cytokine Therapeutics.

  • Werewolf is using its PREDATOR™ platform to design systemically delivered INDUKINE™ molecules that address the limitations of conventional proinflammatory immune therapies.
  • INDUKINE™ molecules are intended to activate selectively in the tumor microenvironment while avoiding toxicity on non-target tissue.
  • WTX-124 (IL-2) and WTX-330 (IL-12) are preclinical INDUKINE™ molecules that Werewolf expects to advance into clinical development in multiple tumor types as a single agent and in combination with an immune checkpoint inhibitor.

Dr. Cynthia Seidel-Dugan, Chief Scientific Officer, Werewolf Therapeutics

4:45pm EST

Wellness Break

4:50pm EST

Panel Discussion: Where does the Future Lie for Cytokine Therapies? 

Looking forward, what will define success? Our deeper biological understanding? The elimination of current challenges?

  • What defines the success of cytokines as therapeutics?
  • Do we fully understand the mechanisms of hot and cold tumors and how do we use this knowledge to select appropriate therapies to make ‘cold tumors hot’?
  • To what length/extent will there be crossover between disease treatments?
  • How can we predict which patients will respond best, to which cytokine therapies?

Dr. Randi Isaacs, Chief Medical Officer, Werewolf Therapeutics

Dr. Carl Walkey, Senior Vice President Corporate Development, Neoleukin Therapeutics

Dr. David Béchard, Chief Executive Officer, Cytune Pharma

Moderator: Dr. Fahar Merchant, Chief Executive Officer, Medicenna

5:35pm EST

Close of The 2nd Annual Next-Gen Cytokine Therapeutics Summit

Download The 2021 Agenda